Using Electricity to Put the Baby to Sleep (Mar, 1922)

Using Electricity to Put the Baby to Sleep

By R. A. Squires

(Second Prize in “New Uses for Electricity” Contest) WHEN our baby arrived, he started life with a severe case of colic, which kept us up at all hours endeavoring to quiet him. We shortly discovered that gently shaking him up and down in his crib would induce him to be perfectly quiet— as long as we kept it up.

This became mighty tiresome, even when my wife and I took turns, and after a few nights we were both worn out. So I proceeded to contrive a mechanical means to shake the baby by mounting a discarded fan motor on a base secured in the lower part of the crib. I ran a belt from the small pulley on the motor to a 6-in. pulley mounted on a short piece of shaft, which was provided with two bearings and a base for attaching.

On the other end of shaft I mounted a collar and drilled it for a crankpin about 3/8 in. off center. I then made a short connecting rod, one end with a bearing to snugly fit the crankpin, the other end attached to the center of the springs in the crib. The connecting-rod was later provided with an adjustment to compensate for the baby’s weight as he grew older.

This device moves springs, mattress, baby, and all up and down about 3/4 in. in a smooth and regular manner. A means of regulating the speed was provided by the use of a small self-contained rheostat sold for dimming a lamp. The motor as usually operated consumes about 20 watts an hour.

Does it work? Well, the baby is now over a year old. He has never missed a day going to sleep with the aid of the shaker, and we have never had to stay up at night to rock him or shake his crib since we put the electric shaker to work.

The outfit is self-contained with the crib and can be placed in any room. It has a cord connection for attaching to any convenient socket.

I might add that the crib is also equipped with electric milk-warmer and night-lamp.

  1. Alan J. Richer says: March 31, 20081:05 pm

    The mind boggles – but then again it’s a damned imaginative way to deal with the kid’s needs. I wonder if the motion was to deal with gas formation from colic (bounce me I belch)?

    I do think it’s a bit impersonal, though.


  2. Rick Auricchio says: March 31, 20081:08 pm

    This won second prize.

    First prize was a “short, sharp shock” to knock the baby out for several hours…

  3. Blurgle says: March 31, 20083:45 pm

    Impersonal perhaps, but after twenty or twenty-five nights of the baby screaming his head off for eight hours straight, you don’t care about impersonal.

  4. Alan J. Richer says: March 31, 20086:03 pm

    Trust me I know – my daughter had similar problems… 🙂 Teddy Ruxpin was my friend when she got older, but till then there were many nights of walking the nursery floor dealing with the issue.


  5. Rick Auricchio says: March 31, 20087:33 pm

    My son was like this; happily, that was 22 years ago. At the time, our house had five bedrooms all in a line. We moved his crib to the room farthest from ours. We know…

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